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EDNA MONTEIRO: A Tribute




Edna Monteiro

16 June 1939 to 6 May 2020

 

EDNA was born in the Kenyan town of Kisumu in 1939 on the shores of Lake Victoria, where her father had been posted by the British civil service. After several secondments in regional towns around Kenya, the young family of four children finally arrived in the capital, Nairobi, in 1953 where Edna attended Dr Ribeiro Goan School.

Edna was very social and, like her brothers and later her younger sister, had a natural ability to excel at sports. In her final year, Edna was rewarded by the school, receiving the Victor Ludorum prize for her all-round sports ability. After leaving school Edna attended secretarial college and began her working life. Together with her life-long best friend, Sr. Trifa De Sousa, she focused her sporting capability mainly on athletics and hockey, working and training during the week and travelling to championships and tournaments on the weekends.

Her hockey team, the Collegians, was very well-organised and became the best women’s hockey team in East Africa. The team members had a special bond and the players remain very close to this day.

After marrying Renato Monteiro in 1963, Edna worked in administration for Sassini Coffee Estates. She strived to balance the demands of career, family and an active social life. Edna played hockey for the Goan Institute where she captained the team and mentored many of the younger players. She also got a lot of satisfaction from being on the Ladies Committee which did so much to organise community events. She enjoyed cooking with the other ladies. They called these sessions “Board Meetings” because they would bring their cutting boards and talk about the week’s activities. Edna developed a passion for cooking and won several cooking and recipe competitions in Nairobi.

In 1983, Edna and Renato made the difficult decision to emigrate to Australia to join the rest of her family who were settled in Canberra and Melbourne. This was in the hope that they would provide a better education for their sons, Malcolm and Julian. Leaving her idyllic lifestyle in Nairobi to start life afresh in Canberra presented many challenges which Edna embraced. She had a passion for life which allowed her to develop new skills, loyal friendships and to be closer to her mum, Mary. After a long career, she retired from the Public Service in the late 1990s. Edna subsequently spent a lot of time doing community work with her local Church and charity organisations. She loved gardening and joined the ‘Friends of the Botanical Gardens’ where she volunteered for decades. She was known for her practicality and ability to just get on and do whatever was required. This trait is fondly remembered by her immediate family whenever they called on her.

Edna loved travelling to see her siblings and their families in Melbourne. Her children, daughters-in-law and grandchildren treasured her visits to Sydney, especially when she came bearing gifts of food and large piles of chapattis, which were rapidly devoured.

Over many years Edna developed a close-knit group of friends in Canberra who were unfailing in their support of each other. These friendships gave her great strength and much pleasure; they shared a fondness for conversation over many dinners, afternoon teas, and the occasional holiday.

Edna will be remembered for her true colours. She was a strong woman with a big smile, a genuine personality, and an ability to maintain loyal friendships across many decades and generations.

Edna was the matriarch who guided her family to a new country and taught us always to look forward and not be afraid of what lies beyond.


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Two of the most hated and feared men in Kenya

 I have not been able establish the author of the material published below. However, factually it is correct and could be the product of similar stories published all over the place.

Joginder Singh Sokhi, a Kenyan Asian, and Patrick David Shaw, a Kenyan White, were two of Kenya's most dreaded non-Black security officers of the 1970s and 1980s. Joginder Singh Sokhi was a Kenya Police Officer who rose to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police, while Patrick David Shaw was not a formal Kenya Police Officer, but a Kenya Police Reservist.


Joginder Singh Sokhi in particular, was dreaded amongst Kenya's Asians in those times. In the Nairobi of those times, it was common to find groups of Asians on different corners of Nairobi's streets chatting, and certain times a group of Asians chatting would suddenly disperse and flee in fear in different directions i.e. "every man for himself," as if they had just seen a herd of elephants approaching. What it was is that they had seen Joginder Singh Sokhi approaching. Many Kenyans speak of the Daniel T. arap Moi years in Kenya and how they were "a reign of terror." Well the Jomo Kenyatta years in Kenya were probably a worse "reign of terror" than the Daniel T. arap Moi years.

And then in both the Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel T. arap Moi years in Kenya, there were quite a number of scams like coffee smuggling and smuggling of precious stones, and quite a number of Asians, Blacks and Whites were involved.

Joginder Singh Sokhi would target the Asians suspected of involvement in these scams, and what Joginder Singh Sokhi would sometimes do is dress up like a civilian, like a "street hustler," and then visit the Nairobi cinema halls of those times i.e. long before the advent of Video Cassette Recorders (VCRs), Digital Video Discs (DVDs), the internet, YouTube and Netflix. There were quite a number of cinema halls in Nairobi in those days i.e. what were regarded the downtown cinema halls like Odeon Cinema Hall, Embassy Cinema Hall, ABC Cinema Hall, Cameo Cinema Hall, and Shah Cinema Hall, and what were regarded the uptown cinema halls like 20th Century Cinema Hall, Liberty Cinema Hall, Nairobi Cinema Hall, Metropole Cinema Hall and Kenya Cinema Hall.

Many Kenyan Asians preferred the downtown cinema halls and what Joginder Sokhi Singh would sometimes do, dressed like a "street hustler," is track some of his "suspects" to the downtown cinema halls. It could be real drama e.g. in the middle of a movie, there would be a sudden commotion, and when the lights came on, you would note Joginder Singh Sokhi leaving the cinema hall as he tightly gripped the hands of one or two Asians.

That was Joginder Singh Sokhi for you. Joginder Singh Sokhi loved Joginder Singh Sokhi, and given a second chance, Joginder Singh Sokhi would still have chosen to be Joginder Singh Sokhi. He loved the image he had cut for himself in the Kenya of those times.




Enter Patrick David Shaw, still the most dreaded Kenya Police Reservist in Kenyan History so far. Patrick David Shaw was like Joginder Singh Sokhi in the sense that Patrick David Shaw loved Patrick David Shaw, and given a second chance, Patrick David Shaw would still have chosen to be Patrick David Shaw.

Kenya's Asians dreaded Joginder Singh Sokhi, Kenya's Blacks, including this writer, dreaded Patrick David Shaw.

Shaw had three trademark vehicles in those times i.e. a White Volvo model of the 1970s, exactly the same model but blue in colour, and a White 1980s model Mercedes. Many Kenyans of those times were familiar with Shaw's motor vehicles i.e. they stood out, and where they were spotted, that area was studiously avoided, lest Shaw was on the trail of "suspects," and lest there was suddenly an exchange of gunfire, and you found yourself caught in the middle of that gunfire.
Shaw hardly slept i.e. he was like a 24 hour guy e.g. his vehicle, at least one of the three of those times, could be spotted at a downtown Nairobi location at 3.00 a.m. in the morning, three hours later i.e. 6.00 a.m., it could be spotted somewhere much further off like Ngong, in Northern Nairobi, and then about two hours later i.e. 8.00 a.m. it could be spotted at the very opposite end of Ngong e.g. Embakasi. Shaw was an "omnipresent" kind of guy.

Both Joginder Singh Sokhi and Patrick David Shaw were implicated in the murder in 1975 of flamboyant Kenyan politician Josiah Mwangi Kariuki i.e. J.M. Kariuki.

J.M. Kariuki was last seen alive leaving Nairobi's Hilton Hotel in the company of then General Service Unit (GSU) Commandant Ben Gethi, on Sunday evening, 2nd March 1975. Very soon before this, both Joginder Singh Sokhi and Patrick David Shaw were seen outside Hilton Hotel. J.M. Kariuki's abduction and murder were like a military operation e.g. soon before J.M. Kariuki left Hilton Hotel in the company of Ben Gethi, Kenya Police Officers under the supervision of Patrick David Shaw, cleared the streets surrounding Hilton Hotel of all Human traffic.

J.M. Kariuki was first taken to then Headquarters of the Directorate of Security Intelligence (DSI) i.e. the then "Special Branch" Headquarters i.e. Kingsway House, off University Way, Nairobi, where he was "interrogated," before being taken to the foot of the Ngong Hills where he was shot dead.

Both Joginder Singh Sokhi and Patrick David Shaw were present at Kingsway House when J.M. Kariuki was being "interrogated." Ben Gethi was also present. Also present was Inspector Arthur Wanyoike Thungu of President Jomo Kenyatta's Presidential Security Detail.
Inspector Arthur Wanyoike Thungu had a passionate dislike for J.M. Kariuki and at a certain point during the "interrogation" of J.M. Kariuki, Inspector Thungu asked J.M. Kariuki why he i.e. J.M. Kariuki, was undermining the Government of President Jomo Kenyatta, and J.M. Kariuki responded rudely i.e. something on the lines of "Go F yourself." Inspector Thungu punched J.M. Kariuki so hard in the face, immediately knocking out two of J.M. Kariuki's teeth. J.M. Kariuki's autopsy report indeed indicated that two of his teeth were missing.

Patrick David Shaw died in mysterious circumstances in February 1988. It is said that Patrick David Shaw was executed because he had refused to go and "shot dead" then Kenyan Vice President Mwai Kibaki, which passes as unbelievable i.e. Mwai Kibaki yes, was dropped as Kenyan Vice President the following month i.e. March 1988 i.e. after the Kenyan General Elections of March 1988, but Mwai Kibaki is still alive and kicking 32 years after February and March 1988, and 7 years after he exited the Kenyan Presidency.

Joginder Singh Sokhi passed away in 2018.

Gone fishin' ... in Uganda, and here and there!


PISCATORIAL ESCAPADE IN UGANDA

By Armand Rodrigues

Fishing comes naturally to the Goan.  Many a Goan has fished off the freshwater piers in Entebbe, Port Bell, Bukakata, Mbulamuti, Namasagali, or from the shore or rocks at Old Entebbe, Nkumba, the old Rippon Falls – just to name a few.

Other the ones that got away, catches included Nsoga (kerio), Tilapia (ngege), a bony fish called Kisinja, and catfish.  But, the most exciting to land was undoubtedly the large Nile Perch.  Join me on a memorable fishing expedition for this worthy game-fish of the deep.

All agog with excitement, four of us pile into Seby’s pint-size Austin A40 (UFB113), well before sunrise.  Our destination:  Mbulamuti on the mighty Nile, where a pre-arranged motorboat, with heavy-duty fishing gear, awaits us.  Naturally, we carry adequate provisions for sustenance and copious quantities of fluid fortification.

In the early morning fog, Prip, the navigator, is still in a fog himself.  He is not a morning person.  Instead of a left turn at a fork near Kasangati, we go off to the right  (blame it on the fog !), only to find ourselves in the middle of nowhere.  We retrace our path, but not before the radiator starts belching smoke.  (Cars in those days had water-cooled radiators).  Seby could not remember if he had checked the water level the day before.  Panic sets in.  There is no water in sight.  All make a personal contribution that saves the day. We arrive at our destination without any other incident.

The local “captain” of our battered old boat promises to take us to the best fishing spots for perch.   Four lines are soon trolling in the wake of the boat.  An hour goes by without a bite.  We do not have to watch our lines.  Each of us is absorbed in his thoughts, the uppermost being:  “Will I be the first”?  The diesel fumes are overpowering.  The malodorous and dank swamp air does nothing to assuage our pent-up anticipation.  The Equatorial sun begins to test our tolerance.

Suddenly,  Freddie P. breaks the silence with a victory yell, when he gets a tug that nearly yanks him out of the boat.  To the uninitiated, it is akin to hooking a large log.  The next thing you know, a large specimen leaps high into the air and lands with a splash that sends ripples to our boat some 50 metres away.   The ”captain” cuts the engine and orders all other lines in to avoid them from getting snagged.   The adrenalin is pumping and F.P. “plays” and struggles with the perch for nearly an hour.  Exhausted and with no fight left, eager hands help in gaffing and then laboriously heaving the 150-pounder on board.  The catcher feels drained and does justice to two large bottles of Bell to revive himself.

The rest of us continue fishing, while F.P. sports a grin of smug superiority.  All but one of us – who shall remain nameless – are lucky and manage to land good sizers.  The boatman is kept busy de-gutting the fish as fast as we heave them on board. 

Seby’s A40 groans and protests under the added load.  The radiator has now been topped up with brackish Nile water.

We head straight for Lake Victoria Hotel at our home base of Entebbe.  No, we are not going there for fish steaks!  Besides, we are unpresentable and reeking of fish and other unidentifiable odours.  Our good friend,  Motez R., the chef, receives our catch at the rear entrance, for storing in the hotel’s cold room,(we had no fridges in those days) till we are ready to saw off chunks for consumption or distribution to friends and neighbours.

Then off to the Goan Institute to brag about our piscatorial prowess and related adventures.

CRF: And who could forget the wonderful Samaki Club at the Railway Institute: Skip, Peter Fernandes, Filu Mazor Rodrigues, John Goes, Derryck De Mello, Tyrone D’Souza, Reynold D’Souza, Diamond Mike, Jules D’Souza (?), Norman da Costa, Steve Fernandes, Sidney Machado, and who else, many names I forget.

Then there were guys in Kisumu, many of whom used to just pop out to catch large tilapia (ngege) that night’s dinner or fishing in Lake Rudolf (later Lake Turkana) for giant tilapia, ferocious tiger fish and gigantic Nile Perch and plenty. Who could forget Franklin Pereira and Peter George D’Souza, kings of the Indian Ocean out of Mombasa fishing for Marlin, Black Marlin, Spanish Mackerel, huge tasty reef fish and lots and lots more, as a business and purely for fun? What about all those guys in Zanzibar, who first went fishing the India Ocean in dhows, the guys from Tanga all the way down to the Mozambique border fishing the mighty India Ocean. The Indian Ocean and its bounty of mackerel, whiting, Spanish mackerel, blue and mud crabs, and a million other favourites …
                                                                                                                                                                              

House of Braganca

https://www.headlinesofmylife.today/2016/10/cyprian-fernandes-house-of-braganca.html

https://www.headlinesofmylife.today/2016/10/cyprian-fernandes-house-of-braganca-2.html

https://www.headlinesofmylife.today/2016/10/cyprian-fernandes-house-of-braganca-3.html

https://www.headlinesofmylife.today/2016/10/cyprian-fernandes-house-of-braganca-4.html

https://www.headlinesofmylife.today/2016/10/cyprian-fernandes-house-of-braganca-5.html

https://www.headlinesofmylife.today/2016/11/braganca-6-hot-blood-cold-showers-for.html

https://www.headlinesofmylife.today/2017/01/goan-tailors-before-ready-made-clothes.html

https://www.headlinesofmylife.today/2017/01/braganca-8-incident-at-goan-gymkhana.html

https://www.headlinesofmylife.today/2020/04/cyprian-fernandes-house-of-braganca-9.html



https://www.headlinesofmylife.today/2017/01/braganca-10-mai-whose-son-am-i.html

Cyprian Fernandes: House of Braganca 9


Braganca 9

Braganca is sitting in his office at Government House, Nairobi. He is listening to a variety of birdlife that frequents the gardens. He is also admiring the manicured lawns. Just outside his window, there are rows and rows of rose bushes and the scent is quite intoxicating. Twenty four men and women work full-time to keep all of the gardens at their Chelsea Flower Show best.
The phone rings. He sort of reluctantly picks up the receiver. At the other end of the line is de Araujo from the Goan Gymkhana. For a moment, after the first hellos, the line is silent. Braganca is convinced that there will be a very humble apology forthcoming. Instead, de Araujo asks: “What was the date yesterday?”
Braganca is taken aback. Why? He is perplexed and reaches for his diary and there it is … April 1 … There is a half-hearted laugh before the line goes dead.

Your memories, your nostalgia, a sentimental journey of joy


Memories

Please enrich this post by adding your own memories:


Kenya, East Africa,

Memories, memories, fading memories,
Heartbreak, clawing fingers, extended arms
Desperately hanging on to every shred
Of every memory, places, faces, moments,
Events, happenings, the food, sports,
Nightclubs, clubs, the streets, the shops
The suburbs, the long drives, on muddy roads
Or on silken black tarmac, room for one car,
Ponds Cream white silver sands, Malindi
Watamu Beach Resort, and millions more.

Desperately seeking familiar faces of my
Youth, where, oh where, have they all gone,
Oh the loneliness, of being marooned
On this Earth without my youth, my friends,
Those I have loved, fallen in and out of love with,
Where have they all gone, where has the time gone
Desperate, desperate, betrayed, let down,
Broken hearted, broken spirited, helpless,

What, what is it, why are you waking me?
Oh sorry,
Oh, a nightmare, I am just having, am I?
Felt very real …


Soft, sweet, gentle things, kisses from a whispering Nairobi breeze on any
evening, I remember about the other love of my life: Nairobi

My friends, many colours, many thoughts, many dreams, trust, loyalty,
poverty and riches, you don't count as money or wealth... Watching the world go by in Nairobi National Park or fishing somewhere, anywhere! Tea with a pretty girl at the Tea House of the August Moon opposite the Kenya Cinema.

What is it that psychologically tricks our taste buds into thinking that fruit and veg grown anywhere else other than Kenya (or Goa for that matter) lacks taste, aroma, that just plucked freshness, and just does taste that Kenya sweetness. And why is this particularly true of those gorgeous matundas (passionfruit) that I used to eat by the kikapuful (basketful) at one sitting topped off with a couple of slices of pineapple. And what about the madafu (tender coconut), guava, jumnams, apples, peaches,bananas, berries of a thousand kind? What is it about the Kenyan coast that makes them so different? And all those mitai (Indian) sweets ... why do the
laddoos and jelebies seem so different, the sweetness just right in the syrup, and laddoos moist but firm. Was it the water? Was it the air?

Green mangoes with salt and chilli powder, red paw paws and yellow papaya. Days when Coke was a drink and Fanta orange was the prize. When girls smashed ripened pomegrenate seeds on their lips or drank vimto make their lips red, centuries before they were emboldened to wear the "devil's colours" lipstick. The looked great au naturel! White Bobby socks, those girls’ shoes from Bata, pinafores, long skirts, shorts skirts, ribbons in their hair, gold chains around their necks and coconut oil in their hair and Ponds vanishing cream on their faces … strange perfumes, little dabs behind the ears and the upside of their wrists. Oh, and the boldest with a little dare-devil mascara. Boys in short pants, short-sleeveds shirts. Long socks in tennis shoes or leather shoes if you could afford them. Skinny belts tightened to hold up the khaki pants. Bruised egos and grazes knees from football, twisted ankles and countless cramps, reddened knuckles and swollen ankles from hockey … boys who wore those girls’ shoes with a strap at the front. Or the joy of walking barefoot on green, green grass or brown depending on the season of rain or dry. Picnics, climbing trees and perhaps the greatest joy of all … gone fishing for tilapia or black bass or freshwater prawns in Stone Athi. Later, the Drive-In (all boys jammed in a car or the lucky ones with girls’ heads on their shoulders, and this and that.)

Grams and jugus (groundnuts) cooked in hot sand ... delicious also charcoal grilled corn and yam chips (mogo), sweet sweet mandaasi (deeped fried dumpling), irio (vegetable mash), maharagwe (beans), skinny muchusi (curry) and the king of foods: ugali (mealie meal). Roasted bananas and delish banana fritters. Like kisses, soft, sweet pancakes with honey or fillings of grated coconut and joggery! The fruit and vegie carts outside our homes each morning followed by the lullaby of the "chupa na debe" (bottles and cans) men! The happy-go-lucky tiffin carriers who took warm, daily cooked food for the bwanas in town.

Stern fathers who rarely spoke to their children and mums who fussed worse than mother hens and you only learnt to miss all that when they were gone but you loved them every minute of your life.

Music: Fadhili Williams and Malaika that opened a new world of music to the uninitiated. Bata Shoe Shine Boys and Inspector Gideon and the Police Band who showed us new kind music with Kenya soul. Henry Braganza and the Supersonics, The Bandits, the Rhythm Kings, Cooty's bands, The Wheelers, Max Alphonso's unforgettable harmonica playing, Steve Alvares and his band
and the talented Alvares family, classical, jazz, dance and pop.

Escape to India at the Shan or Odeon or the wonderful family musical parties or those boisterous but wonderful Sikh weddings. And just for afters Jevanjee Gardens: basking in the midday sun, not too far from the hustle and bustle of the city, in the then beautiful gardens where children ran wild like butterflies on Saturdays and Sundays where the family gathered for an Indian picnic made in heaven. My nostrils are still filled with the rich aromas! Green Hotel for delicious Potato chips and Coke or chai or faluda (at Keby’s).

Dinner at too many Singh's restaurants or Punjabi snacks at tiny bars in the suburbs or roast chicken at the Sikh Union accompanied by four fingers of Scotch paraded as two fingers, the forefinger and the little finger. The gentle advice from my many Sikh uncles!

Puberty and growing up at all the social clubs, especially the Goan clubs, the music, the dances, the girls, the friends, the sports, the laughter and carefree, happiest times of my life.


Blue jeans and blue suede shoes (if you could find them, got mine at an Italian shop in the city), Elvie Presley kiss curls and shortsleeved collars turned up. The girls looked even more beautiful, first in the teenage years and then into early womanhood. Some mums and dads got even more scarier. Thank God for our emissary, Tony Reg D’Souza. Tusker, White Cap, City and the imported stuff. Scotch, gin and T, Rum and C, Vodka and O, Brandy and... G ...Vincarnis, white wine, red wine, BabyCham.

Embassy, Dunhill, Rex, Clipper, Jogoo, Sportsman, State Express, 555, Players Navy Cut, Senior Service, Pall Mall, CravenA, B&H, Black Cat, Woodbine, Chesterfield, du Maurier, Gitanes ... and this and that... biddies?

Working at the Nation: the greatest moments of my life! Daily drinks at Sans Chique and World Cup at table football against the Laval gang, the late Cyril and Guy were a deadly combination.

Lunch and drinks any Saturday at the Tropicana and their brilliant salad ray!

Faluda at Keby's (had to do this twice, because my late wife loved this and once walked the length of a Bandra street loving every new flavor). The world's best lamb samosas and aloo (potato) bajjias at the Ismalia Café opposite the Khoja Mosque.

Maru's Cafe in Reata Road. Kheema-mayaii chapatis (egg and mince), delicious kebabs cooked fresh everywhere, the likes of which I have never seen or tasted again.

Quiet contemplation in the grounds of the Jamia Islamia Mosque or Holy Family Cathedral. Coffee with lawyers at Nairobi Town Hall. Coffee and snack at Snocream. Midnight rendezvous at Embakasi Airport. The drives to anywhere outside of Nairobi .... Karen, Nairobi National
Park, Thika, Kiambu, Liumuru (haunts of secret lovers, far from prying Goan eyes or their resultant torrid gossip), Naivasha, Gilgil, Nakuru anywhere, a million dreams.

World's greatest breakfasts at the Wagon Wheel Hotel Eldoret, Kericho Tea Hotel, Nakuru Hotel. Best chips and sandwiches at Brunners (Queen’s Hotel) Opposite the City Hall.

The bathing of the mind at any game lodge: Watching that magical moment, the last nano second when evening morphs into night. The first chorus of the night orchestra mixed with the grunting, sighs of the animal kingdom going to lala.

Eastleigh, Pangani, Juja Road, River Road. Starehe. Kariokor. Karen, Dagoretti. Killeshwa, Lavington, Mincing Lane, Nairobi markets, the churches, the temples, a million smiles. Nairobi West, South C, South B, Nairobi West, Langata, Embakasi, Kilimani ………..

The world's greatest nyama choma (barbecued meat) served with onions tomatoes, green coriander, pinch of salt, drop of vinegar and on the rare occasion a slice of lemon.

The bands, the music, the dancing, Swiss Grill, Topaz Grill Room, Equator Club, Sombrero, Starlight, Equator Inn, Jeans Bar, Caiados Bar, Indian Bazaar, Museum, Ngong racecourse, Kiambu Club, Limuru Golf Club

Waited with panting nostrils each Easter to cover the East African Safari. I will treasure every single moment I spent in every game lodge, one of the greatest experiences of my life and everyone should do it at least once.

I am sure you guys have your special memories. Please add.


The late Elsie Antonette Maciel


The Longest Honeymoon

By the late Elsie Maciel

I'd dreamed about getting married on the roadside of the Great Rift Valley escarpment in the beautiful little chapel the Italian prisoners of war had built to mark the end of their work on the building of the Nakuru-Nairobi highway. But my parents wanted the wedding to be in their newly-built home in Kitale. So we had a wonderful wedding day at my family's Kitale home.

At dawn one of the ltalian war prisoners came carrying in his hand a shallow basket of real orange blossoms.What bride could not hold her breath at such a sight? Trust an Italian to bring that romantic touch.

After the wedding I left with my newly-wed husband Mervyn on the evening of our wedding day. We left our guests still celebrating.

Our honeymoon in the wilds began as we left Kitale by the sleek weekend train, joining the romantic Uganda to Mombasa Mail at Eldoret, and then on to Nairobi for a short stay. The dinner on the train was a perfect wedding celebration. The next day we boarded the Nanyuki-bound train from Nairobi. Two friends picked us up at Nyeri and we drove on to Isiolo via Nanyuki. At Isiolo, our friends had organised a royal reception, which gave us an opportunity to meet many of the townsfolk.

At sunset the next day, we boarded a heavily- loaded truck in Isiolo for the onward road journey to Marsabit. We drove through part of the dark night before pitching camp at Laisamis, amidst roaring campfires. I sat on a log absorbing the atmosphere and looking out for a roaring lion. As we settled down, I saw, through the haze, a hysterical Rendille woman holding a child and making a dash for Mervyn. In what appeared like a begging posture, she pleaded for a lift to Marsabit to take her sick child to hospital. She turned to me and said, 'Watoto wengi,' wishing me many children in Swahili.

I watched Mervyn as chiefs and important tribesmen arrived to greet him and shake his hand warmly as though he'd been away for a long time. He handled the situation with authority and good grace.

I looked towards the sick child, about 11 years old, and as I shook his hand I felt his fevered skin. I offered the Rendille mum half an aspirin tablet, which she promptly gave her child. I thought no more of it.

The sky filled up with more and more stars I'd never really noticed stars as I' d never camped out in the open before. The breath-taking scene made me feel I could touch the sky! Ever since, the night sky, rare shooting stars and stardust remained my grace before bedtime.

They set up two camp beds for us, and with my hand in the hand of my hero, I fell asleep, safe and secure. We entered Marsabit early the next morning in an unusual almost magical cold mist. A group of very happy women waited around a U-bend to surprise us with presents of sheep and lambs, the best of their flock. I was lost for words and did not know how to cope with such kindness and generosity. By the time we arrived in the government boma, we had six animals, with more people waiting along the route to surprise and greet us.

Honeymoon in the Wilds
With Dubas (Frontier Tribal Police)
We ate breakfast with our neighbours, yet another celebration spread! Our host and hostess, who had also recently married, knew the feeling. After breakfast - came the most spectacular moment. Mervyn walked me down the garden path, his eyes beaming with pride and laughter, to the door of our home. We made a fairy-tale entrance. From the moment I set eyes on the lovely stone cottage with its tin roof, I couldn't stop making plans for it.
By the afternoon, the township Chief and Elders had a tea party for us. The women turned out in bright-coloured clothes of satin and silk and the men wore their traditional attire. They welcomed us warmly to the festive occasion. Beautifully dyed, hand-woven circular and square straw mats, almost in geometric design, decked the walls of the reception room. Our hosts sang, danced and ululated after which we drank very sweet, hot and strong spicy tea and soft drinks. The Chief 's wife presented me with twelve large walnut sized amber beads.

One afternoon soon after we arrived in Marsabit, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find the most magnificent Dubas (Tribal Policeman), in his special white uniform, gleaming in the bright sunlight with his post-office red turban, the ammunition in his bandolier all polished, his rifle strapped on to his left shoulder, and in his right arm a great big bunch of fireball lilies, which matched his turban. I stood spellbound and speechless. What could I say that would thank him enough? He seemed to sense how I felt. He laughed, handed me the flowers and bade me farewell. There shall never be such a gift of flowers for me again!
A couple of weeks into our stay at Marsabit our cook, Sheunda, came to announce a visitor. Reluctant to leave my sewing of new curtains, I stood up slowly and followed him. I found at the kitchen door the very same Rendille mum who had appeared at our honeymoon camp site. Beside her stood her now fit and healthy-looking son. Having tracked me down, she had come to thank me for the dawa (half an aspirin), which she said had made her little boy well again. She bowed low in an obvious gesture of gratitude, wishing me once again many children. I offered her a mug of tea. The whole experience left me so humble I wanted to hide!

And so continued our unforgettable honeymoon in the wilds, an experience I shall treasure for the rest of my life.




















OVER THE NEXT few days there will be many tributes and eulogies celebrating the life Elsie Maciel will be written, spoken and recorded in many places. Below is a humble effort incorporating Mervyn’s thoughts from the last days of her life and a small excerpt from Bwana Karani.

Condolences to mervynels.watuwashamba@gmail.com


Goa-born Elsie spent most of her early life in the Kenya Highlands (Kitale). Following her marriage to Mervyn, she moved to Marsabit in the inhospitable N.F.D. (Northern Frontier District) and fell in love with the place and the people. Sadly, however, she had to leave the area as there were no medical facilities for their second son (Conrad) who was born with a congenital heart condition, a condition that eventually claimed his life at Kisii, at the tender age of under two years.

Elsie and Mervyn had been married to 68 years: Elsie Antonette Collaco and Mervyn Maciel tied the not on August 16, 1952, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Kitale, Kenya with Fr John officiating.

End of a Bachelor Era (excerpt from Bwana Karani)
As each day passed, I soon became aware that my days of bachelorhood were not to last very much longer. My fiancee and I had planned a wedding in August (1952) — there was much to be done in the way of organizing the whole affair. We were hampered in the planning of this event by the fact that there were no telephones at Marsabit. Most of our arrangements had to be conducted through letters, and with the mails being infrequent, things did get hectic at times. The local post office must have made a small fortune from the many telegrams we often had to send!
I spent Christmas of 1951 with my fiancee in Kitale, and on Boxing Day that year, we got engaged. A very simple occasion at home where only the immediate family and the Parish Priest, Fr. John Hawes was present. The announcement must have taken everyone by surprise as nothing had been planned. We were certainly thinking about plans for the wedding, but the engagement itself was a spur of the moment decision. The following week, our engagement notice appeared in the local Press and many messages of congratulations started pouring in from relatives and friends alike. We had also informed my brothers abroad of the forthcoming event. Within a few months of my returning to Marsabit, the Notice of Marriage was out in Kitale (my fiancee's hometown), and the DC's office there had sent a copy to the DC Marsabit so that it could be similarly displayed locally. Our friends were quick to offer congratulations. I felt really great — it was a proud moment in my life, even though some remarked that we were too young to be thinking of marriage. Young we may have been, but we certainly knew we were in love and were equally aware of the great responsibilities that lay ahead of us. The only preparation I had so far made, was to save up a whole case of Scotch whisky from the monthly ration of one bottle that my friends and I received. I was grateful to all those who had sacrificed their quotas so that I could build up this stock. Scotch was hard to come by in those days, and since my fiancee's parents would be doing all the catering for the wedding at home, I felt that this small contribution would not come amiss.
…………………………….

Fully satisfied that the arrangements for our wedding were proceeding very smoothly, I returned to Marsabit after my short leave in the certain knowledge that there was now not long to wait before the Big Day or Siku Kuu (as they say in Ki-Swahili). On many an evening, there would be 'extra' celebrations at Marsabit. Some of my friends who knew I would be losing my bachelor 'freedom' felt that the last few days of this carefree era should be suitably remembered. I must admit that the six months between returning from my casual leave and leaving to get married, flew by. I was back at Kitale once more a few days before the wedding, and together my fiancee and I were able to attend to the last-minute details.
My future in-laws had recently moved into their brand new house — an architect-designed bungalow with four spacious bedrooms, a modern lounge-cum-dining-room, with an equally modern bathroom, toilet and kitchen. The whole house had been tastefully decorated and adequately furnished; as this was to be the first family wedding to be held in the new home, no expense had been spared to make the place look like a mini 'palace'. The builders had also worked round the clock to ensure that the house was completed in good time for the family to move in well before the Big Day.
My fiancee was very popular in the Kitale area and the district generally, and the wedding presents that were beginning to arrive from all manner of people, brought home to me the great regard and affection these people had for her. There were gifts from the simple folk and the well-to-do alike, among the latter was one from the then Secretary to the Duke of Manchester (Mr N. O. C. Marsh — an imposing figure of a man). Many local farmers who knew her well when she worked at the KFA (Kenya Farmers Association) had also sent in their gifts and good wishes, and we were greatly touched by the generosity of so many. Even those who could not make it to the wedding, and those who weren't even invited (we had to restrict numbers because of the available space), had sent tokens of affection. Most of the arrangements for the wedding were well advanced by now — the bride's trousseau was complete, so were my suits, the bridesmaids' outfits, etc. The parish priest of the small Catholic Church had asked us over a few days before the big occasion — for a general face-to-face talk on the all-important religious significance of our marriage, and the great responsibilities we were soon to undertake. Being a close friend of the family, talking plainly to us both came so naturally to Fr. John Hawes. My younger brother Wilfred, who I would dearly have liked to have been my best man, was away in England pursuing his studies, so I had to choose my next favourite relative instead. Here, I must admit, I broke away from tradition and asked my married cousin, Jock Sequeira (an Education Officer in Mombasa) — to do the honours. Normally the person chosen is, I believe, a bachelor. Jock arrived a day before and was the only member of my immediate family at the wedding; sadly, due to family commitments, Beryl was unable to accompany him. Most of my other relatives were too far away to make the trip — a paternal uncle (Luis) in Mombasa, others in Zanzibar, Mocambique, Uganda, and my two brothers in Bombay and England respectively. Still, I knew they would all be with us in spirit.



My Els

Elsie was the perfect spouse - very loving and caring, thinking always of others rather than herself.  Healthwise, she's not been lucky both in Kenya and here; had several operations here and spent many days in hospital following many operations; despite all this, she was at her happiest when entertaining visitors and enjoyed spending a lot of time with the children and after grandchildren.

In addition to her culinary skills, she was a seamstress (made the wedding gowns for both our daughters, just days after she's returned home after a major operation. Also made the 3-tier wedding cake; made her dress for the wedding and even a Pageboy outfit for our grandson.

She has knitted endless jumpers for me and the whole family and friends. She even made a 2-piece suit for me.

In addition to all this, she was a great cake maker and made cakes for family birthdays and also for people's anniversaries or weddings. Her pickles were much sought after especially by the Curry Club of Britain -her Bombay duck and Tendlim pickles were a /Goan favourite.

She excelled at pottery and her work was exhibited here in Sutton and also at some other Craft Fairs.

There is so much I could write about her. A great samosa maker. Friends and family still rave
about her unique samosas and pickles. She adored her grandchildren and encouraged them
to take an interest in arts and craft.  She was also a great gardener and later a great
help in the allotment we worked at for nearly 15 years.

She was not a party person, nor overtly religious but her faith meant a lot to her.

Until we are together again, my darling … Mervyn


A couple of tributes by Mel D'Souza

In Memoriam
Elsie Antonette (Collaco) Maciel
1934-2020


Praises to any and all
who are near and dear,
not only when they are loving and living...
to hold, hug, and embrace...
Not only when they fill a shared life
with years of happiness, not only
when they show us,
by personal example,
their devotion and dedication
by daily deeds done with the greatest
of care, kindness and consideration,
not only how to be truly humane,
how to be totally humble, how to be
brave, courageous, unafraid
to endure times of greatest difficulties...
how to deal with loss, grief, and pain...
how to be welcoming to others...
how to be sharing, caring, and giving…
for kith and kin, family and friends,
being hospitable and openhearted...
being genuine, generous,
hospitable and openhearted,
full of surprises and talents,
preparing culinary delights
and wondrous works of art…


Those are all great memories
to value, to treasure, to recall,
to fill heart, mind, and soul...
with total contentment,
when they are no longer with us,
no longer in our midst,
taken from us to commence
their final journey to a divine destiny,
no longer able to share
times of tenderness,
daily deeds done with great skill, and
at times even with great daring...
while being pleasant, and knowing
how to surprise and to please...


Those are memorable moments
to relive when thinking and
speaking with profound gratitude
of all the gifts given and left to us
as the legacy of love
by dearly departed...
now resting in eternal peace!

Gerhard A. Fürst
Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
4/14/2020